STORY: "Forensic errors in David Eastman's conviction could not go unnoticed," by reporter Christopher Knaus, published by the Canberra Times on May 31. 2014.

GIST:  "A former AFP forensics chief says the litany of mistakes that were made with the crucial gunshot residue analysis in the Winchester case simply could not be repeated in a modern-day investigation. The forensic work on Colin Winchester's murder, one of Australia's most high-profile police assassinations, was subjected to scathing criticism in the final report of the Eastman Inquiry that was published on Friday. Robert Collins Barnes, a Victorian-based expert, was the case's most critical forensic witness. His analysis linked gunshot residue found in David Eastman's boot with that found at the scene, describing the retrieved particles as "indistinguishable". The inquiry heard evidence that "devastated" Barnes' reliability. The supposedly independent expert was found overwhelmingly to lack impartiality and, instead, to be in favour of the prosecution. Among other errors, he mixed up exhibits from Eastman's Mazda and the crime scene, something senior counsel assisting the inquiry, Liesl Chapman SC, summed up by saying: "For a forensic scientist, it doesn't get any worse than that." But experts say the kinds of flaws displayed in the Winchester case would simply not be allowed in modern-day investigations......... Barnes worked on a handful of other high-profile cases, including the 1986 bombing of the Russell Street Victorian police headquarters and the1993 killing of escaped convict Archie Butterly. His work on the Butterly case also raised concerns, eventually prompting a wider audit of his work. The defence and the trial judge were largely unaware of Barnes' flaws at Eastman's 1995 trial. Professor Robertson said there were no real systemic problems with forensics identified in the Eastman Inquiry."

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